Meet Coraline & Primrose

For a sewing blog, there hasn’t been much sewing around here lately. Well, today I have three new pieces that I am excited to share. It is no secret that I pattern test for Bella Sunshine Designs and I love their patterns. Last week they launched six new patterns, a camisole and a pair of panties for women, girls, and dolls.

The Coraline Camisole comes in three lengths: cami, tunic, and dress.  For this version, I made the dress length. Mine is cut with a 14 bust, 18 waist, and 16 hip. My measurements are 43″ upper bust, 46″ full bust, 40″ waist, and 47″ hip.

I managed to squeak this dress version out of a single yard of 58″ wide rayon jersey knit by folding the selvage edges in towards the center. This piece came from a Girl Charlee Black Friday sale in 2014. It cost me a whooping $2.50! I love a good deal. I also used this fabric for a previous maxi dress in 2016, but this new dress is the last of it.

I am unsure of how I want to wear this dress. Part of me thinks it would be great to wear this summer with a lightweight cardigan, but then I also think it will make an amazingly comfortable sleep dress. One thing I am sure about is that I will definitely be making more the dress length though. It is such an instant gratification sew. Two pieces (front and back) stitched at the side seams, hem it, stitch on the elastic, and done. Easy peasy.

This is my second version in the tunic length. I made this one specifically as sleepwear. The fabric I used for this one is an ITY knit from Jo-Ann’s that I picked up in 2016 with the intention of making an Appleton Dress, which I also recently made.  Somehow, when I purchased this I asked for three yards and instead ended up with a fourth yard for free. Instead of letting this one yard linger I used it for this tunic. I added a fuschia fold over elastic (FOE) that matched the roses around the neckline, back, and straps.

I love that this pattern uses FOE.  I found so many different FOE color and print options on Etsy for super cheap thanks to some other testers. I will definitely be stocking up on it to make more of these. I foresee a lot of cami length versions in my future to replace my ready to wear camis. But this tunic length is perfect to pair it with the Primrose Panties for a sleep set so I am sure I will make more of these too.

Speaking of Primrose, I did make a matching pair to go with this tunic. This is the high rise brief, but there are also options for a low rise brief or a high or low rise hipster. I think these are amazing and I want to try all the versions! It is my first time making myself undies and I could not have picked a better pattern. I love the technique used for adding the gusset and encasing all the seams. There are even options to use FOE if you don’t want the fabric bands. I am going to make more of these and I definitely want to hack it to make a bikini bottom. This is a great pattern to use up small bits of scraps and stash.

Both of these patterns are on sale right now for a limited time! I recommend checking them out for sure.

What do you think? Have you tried making your own undies?

 

**Note all links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from any purchases made using them. They do not change your shopping experience one bit.

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Sunday Lately: Needing, Cooking, Hitting

Welcome to week 6 of the Sunday Lately series. If you are new to Sunday Lately, it is a weekly series for the Blogger Tribe featuring three prompts to get us writing and sharing our stories from the past week. Each blogger can interpret these topics however they choose in their post. Then we all link back to Katy to share with each other. This week we are talking about needing, cooking, and hitting.

Needing:

What I really need right now is some decent weather. I have a stack of garments waiting to be photographed but the weather has been so cold. I just do not want to venture out in my latest spring/summer dress makes while it is still below 20 degrees. If not for some warm enough weather, I am hoping for some sunny days that I can at least get some okay indoors shots that are not too dark.

Cooking:

This past week, I haven’t done as much cooking as I normally would, but I still made some really great meals. I have the most amazing brownie recipe pinned. This week I made it for the second time and it doesn’t disappoint. Also made this week were chicken enchiladas in green sauce and glazed orange pork chops. Tonight, I will be making shrimp fettucini alfredo and later this week will be grilled steaks with parmesan risotto. I make my alfredo sauce from scratch and it is so good. This is the recipe I use for it.

Hitting:

I have been hitting the snooze button all week. With the crazy cold weather, I have gotten sick. It was bound to happen sooner or later this winter. Other than sleeping in I hadn’t really felt the effects of it until this weekend.  So I am laying low and relaxing in hopes that it won’t last long.

Check out the FB Blogger Tribe group for a list of future Sunday Lately topics. I hope you will join us! What are you needing, cooking, or hitting this week?

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Sunday Lately: Quoting, Signing, Thanking

We are moving right along with the Sunday Lately series to week 5. If you are new to Sunday Lately, it is a weekly series for the Blogger Tribe featuring three prompts to get us writing and sharing our stories from the past week. Each blogger can interpret these topics however they choose in their post. Then we all link back to Katy to share with each other. This week we are talking about quoting, signing, and thanking.

Quoting:

This past week I have been doing a bit of price quoting for alterations and custom gowns. I have a few alterations to finish up this weekend for a client going on a cruise next week. Talk about jealous of getting out of this cold weather! Then, of course, prom season is upon us and I am here for it. I have the most amazing custom prom dress coming up. Unfortunately, I won’t be sharing it with you until April, when her prom is. Sorry, it’s a secret! I will tell you there will be custom dyeing involved though.

Signing:

I really didn’t do any signing this week. With the Polar Vortex storm that hit the midwest, I haven’t left the house much this week. I honestly have had trouble finding the motivation to do much of anything all week.  It is so bad, that I cut out two different projects for the PR sewing bee and I didn’t start one until the day before the deadline. Needless to say, that was a terrible idea and I didn’t finish it. So, I dropped out of round two. Fail!  I need to finish that dress this week before it sits too long and becomes part of the UFO pile.

Thanking:

I want to give a big thank you to all the Indie pattern designers who really listened to what the plus size community was saying. Thank you for acknowledging your missteps in responding to us and recognizing where you need to do better. Read more about them by clicking on their Instagram posts below.

Grainline Studios

Closet Case Patterns

By Hand London

Papercut Patterns

I also want to thank Bridgette Raes for her timely post on curvy body double standards.  If you don’t know who Bridgette is, she is a published author and public speaker on style and image. She really doesn’t have anything to do with the sewing community but her post this week really hit it on the mark for all the discussions that were going on last week on Instagram. She talks about her experience being told her curvy body was too much and she needed to tone it down. This article is beautifully written and I encourage everyone to read it.

 

Check out the FB Blogger Tribe group for a list of future Sunday Lately topics. I hope you will join us! What are you quoting, signing, and thanking this week?

 

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Sunday Lately: Sharing, Thinking, Redoing

Week 4 of the 2019 Sunday Lately series is the best because it is my birthday week! If you are new to Sunday Lately, it is a weekly series for the Blogger Tribe featuring three prompts to get us writing and sharing our stories from the past week. Each blogger can interpret these topics however they choose in their post. Then we all link back to Katy to share with each other. This week we are talking about sharing, thinking, and redoing.

Sharing:

I am happy to share that I made to round 2 of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee. The round 2 challenge is all about zippers, functionally and creatively. We are to make a garment that features at least one functional zipper by Thursday the 31st.  Like the last time, I farted around for two days trying to decide what I wanted to do.  The very first thought was a moto jacket, but then I figured that would be too obvious. Then I was going to make another take on the Grainline Cascade, but decided since I have already made and reviewed one on PR it wouldn’t be anything new and then Friday happened (see below) so it was definitely out the window. In the end, I decided on using OOP Butterick B5994 from kAthRine Tilton. It will be my first time using one from the Kathrine Tilton line. Typically, I do not share the same aesthetic she designs for, but I really like this take on a moto jacket. It is intended for medium to heavy knits but I am actually using a lighter weight dark denim with a little bit of iridescent white shimmer that I have been stashing since 2004-2005ish, so it was time I used it. I ordered a few gray zippers from Wawak that should hopefully arrive in time. I wanted contrasting zippers so they really stand out. In addition to the front closure zipper, I plan on adding zippers to the inseam pockets that will also stand out against the dark denim. I hope that it all comes together and looks good enough to advance to round 3.

Thinking:

On Friday, I shared my thoughts on the recent discussions on sewing plus size inclusivity. A few months ago there was a lot of great discussion about the representation of BIPOC in the sewing community. Not just on patterns, but fabric companies, sewing magazines, and sewing machine brands. It has me thinking a lot about my pattern line and how I can give everyone a voice. I already knew I was going to include plus sizes that would feature all sorts of different real women of different shapes, sizes, and colors, but I have been thinking more about how to represent the LBGTQ community and those with disabilities.

I have a local woman who I met because she needed a 36″ zipper added to the outside seam of her jeans. She is an above knee amputee (AKA) and the zipper made it easier to adjust her socket. She went to several alterations shops in town and was told they could not do that. I absolutely did it for her. Her disability wasn’t one she ever saw coming a few years ago. She had a knee replacement that went septic and had to be amputated. She has an amazing attitude towards her disability. In just over a year of being an amputee; she has become an advocate for amputee awareness, made her presence known at the yearly amp conference, and she has created an annual amputee retreat.  She has taught me so much that I want to recognize her for all that she is and will do for her community. I would like her to be one of the first women I feature in my designs.

Redoing:

This weekend I am redoing my Make Nine for 2019. Three of the patterns in it were Closet Case and as I am choosing not to support those who do not make the curvy sewing niche a priority, I needed to pick some new things to make. I have replaced those with a couple of Laele Jeyne patterns for her Dani Joggers (top left corner) and Scarlett Jeans (bottom right corner). I bought the Dani’s this weekend and now am dying over the moto jeans view for the Scarlett’s. I also added the Cashmerette Chilton Trench (middle row right) because I still want to make a spring jacket. Those Dani’s are first up, but I won’t be sharing the finished project until March for the Breaking Ground blog tour.

 

Check out the FB Blogger Tribe group for a list of future Sunday Lately topics. I hope you will join us! What are you sharing, thinking, and redoing this week?

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On Being Curvy

There have been a lot of discussions over the last few days in the curvy sewing community about plus size inclusivity by indie pattern designers. I have quietly sat on the sidelines listening and taking it all in. Then I read Carolyn’s blog post and had to take action. It was a reawakening. She straight just named names and called them out! She gave her rules of thumb in regards to this. I applaud her for that and what’s more is she is absolutely right! For far too long we have still been supporting, both on social media and financially,  pattern designers who don’t support us. If you are new to the conversation check out the SBCC post that sparked it all. Then read Andi’s post and Shannon’s post. After reading some of the comments on SBCC’s IG post from some of the indie designers I am done with them. I have supported them with my money and praise for far too long now. It’s a shame too because they do make good patterns with great instructions, but they do not serve me and my niche.

I can tell you that their excuses for not making plus size are a bunch of bullshit. From my personal experience in the garment industry as a pattern maker and grader for a garment manufacturer, we went from a size 2-32 and did custom made to measure for those who were bigger or smaller than that size range. Granted, I worked in a very specific performance costume niche, so it wasn’t really mass produced RTW, but the point stands that if a small family run company can do it so can the larger ones. There was a need and the company I worked for filled it.  There were dress forms from size 2 all the way up.  When my co-technical designer and I reworked and updated the fit and sizing of the patterns, we made samples in every size and fit them on real-life women of every size in the size range who regularly wore our costumes to make sure they worked. Yes, it takes more money and time up front, but the payoff is there in the end. The previous sizing model was 30 years old and we updated and expanded it to fit the modern body measurements of our customers. It can and should be done for the pattern industry as well. It isn’t that hard.

It all comes down to priorities. While the indie designers may repeatedly say over and over “if we could, we would” when asked about expanding sizes, what they are really saying is that doing so is not a priority to them. Look past the excuses they give for not offering extended ranges to see the truth for what it is. That we and in turn, our money is not important to them. You wouldn’t put up with friends or significant others who do not view you as a priority, so why should you support companies that don’t? If the plus size market were a priority, those designers would make it happen. Look at Helen’s Closet, for example. She launched in 2015 and currently has 6 patterns in her shop. She is now expanding her range this year, less than 4 years after launching.  She heard the community and truly listened. She made it a priority to serve us as well.  Now look at Closest Case, Heather Lou launched in 2013 with one PDF swimsuit. She now offers 11 print patterns, 18 PDF patterns, and a whole host of supply kits but only expanded her range from 0-18 to 0-20. I cannot believe it is all about money and time and not finding the right testers/fit models. The contrast between these two businesses tells me I am not important enough for Closet Case to care about me as a maker, so I will stop spending my money there.

I am adopting some of Carolyn’s policies by unfollowing and no longer purchasing those designers who do not go up to my size range and beyond. This includes Grainline and Closet Case. It is disappointing because I would love to support a local Chicago indie designer like Jen from Grainline. She did say she would be expanding their range, but there was no mention of how much further it would go and I cannot even find that statement anymore.** If and when she does, I will support them again. I have also spent hundreds of dollars on Closet Case patterns that I have yet to make because of the grading work I will have to do on my end. But it is no longer worth it for me. I can tell you, the number of accounts I follow in Instagram and on Bloglovin’ just got a lot lighter. Hopefully, my inbox will get a bit less crowded too with all the newsletter unsubscribing.

So let’s talk about the indies who do have a larger range that I enjoy and follow. Maybe there is one or two you don’t follow or haven’t tried yet.

  1. Cashmerette – I think Jenny is arguably one of the biggest names in the plus size community.  She has been honest about her plus-size struggles from the start.
  2. Bella Sunshine Designs – Melissa has a great line of PDF patterns that go up to a size 30 and already include the dreaded FBA. In full disclosure, the link is my affiliate link and I do regularly pattern test for her. It is because I truly believe in her pattern line for plus size sewists. I have seen how important getting the fit right for all sizes is to her.
  3. Laela Jeyne –  I must admit that I have not tried Marisa’s patterns yet, but I am going to use them for this years Breaking Ground blog tour in March. Her style aesthetic really meshes with mine and I am pretty excited to try the Dani joggers!
  4. Colette/Seamwork – Sarai did expand the size range to include plus sizes which is awesome. I have some issues with her pattern drafting as a drafter/grader myself, but her stuff is still wearable and she has taken the steps to represent more inclusivity with not just sizing but race and age.

There are a lot more indie designers that you can find on the Curvy Sewing Collective list. I recommend checking them out and trying out their patterns.

**Update: Grainline did post on their IG in response to the buzz that they are releasing extended sizes later this year.

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Sunday Weekly: Losing, Pairing, Surprising

Here we are with week 3 of the 2019 Sunday Lately series! If you are new to Sunday Lately, it is a weekly series for the Blogger Tribe featuring three prompts to get us writing and sharing our stories from the past week. Each blogger can interpret these topics however they choose in their post. Then we all link back to Katy to share with each other. This week we are talking about losing, pairing, and surprising.

Losing:

I have been in this sewing funk since the first of the year. I haven’t cut a single piece of fabric until this week. I had a lost sewing mojo even though I keep finding all sorts of inspiration and things I want to make. This week I completed my entry for the Sewing Bee (see Pairing) and I completed a pattern test for Bella Sunshine Designs (affiliate link). I am actually working on a second pattern test for BSD today.  Both are fantastic and getting me to sew things I have never sewn before! Which, honestly, isn’t much. I will post more about those patterns once they are released though.

Pairing:

Last week I talked about entering the Pattern Review Sewing Bee. I ended up not using any of the fabrics or patterns I had pulled out. Nothing called to me. Then I remembered that I had these fantastic coral jeggings that I don’t wear often because I don’t have much to wear with them. I went looking for neutrals instead and found the super soft gray lightweight sweater knit that I paired with McCall’s 6844. I knew I wanted to add some more visual appeal to it so I drafted pockets and handstitched sequins and pearls to them. You can read my full review here.

Surprising:

Do you know how surprisingly easy it is to make ice cream? I didn’t! For Christmas Eric and I got the ice cream maker attachments for our Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. Last Sunday I made French vanilla ice cream to test it out. No joke, it was some of the best I have had.  Today I am making cookie’s and cream while Eric is baking a giant cookie bar.  It should be a pretty good combo.

Eric is typically a fan of anything chocolate, peanut butter, and nutty in his. I, on the other hand, don’t like any of those things in mine. Give me fruit in my ice cream any day. The only exceptions to that are cookies and cream, salted caramel, and marshmallow. I have started a Pinterest board just for ice cream recipes to try this year.  The top of my list is a lemon batch and a peaches batch. Do you have any good ice cream recipes?

Check out the FB Blogger Tribe group for a list of future Sunday Lately topics. I hope you will join us! What are you losing, pairing, and surprising with this week?

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Sunday Lately: Embarking, Enjoying, Experimenting


It is week 2 of the 2019 Sunday Lately series! If you are new to Sunday Lately, it is a weekly series for the Blogger Tribe featuring three prompts to get us writing and sharing our stories from the past week. Each blogger can interpret these topics however they choose in their post. Then we all link back to Katy to share with each other. This week we are talking about embarking, enjoying, and experimenting.

Embarking:

Last week I shared about my new adventure in 18th-century history and this week I have a much clearer idea of where to go with my costume. I am using Simplicity 8579 for my chemise and corset. I am making those two items first because I will need to take new measurements once I have the corset on in order to cut and sew the right size for the caraco (bodice) and skirt. The blue fabric above is what I will be using for the corset. It is a pretty heavy duty woven drapery cotton from the 80’s. It was actually given to me just a couple of weeks ago, so I am glad it won’t have a chance to hang out in my stash too long.

I know I will be using McCall’s 7916 for the caraco and skirt pieces, but I have not settled on fabric yet. As of right now, I am thinking I want to do a brown wool caraco and a mustard yellow skirt. A trip to Zinck’s Fabric Outlet in Ligonier, IN is in order to find some lightweight wools for these, so my colors will probably change depending on what they have. I think Zinck’s will be my best option though because of how inexpensive their fabrics are. Last time I got some army green wool for $2.99/yard, that is how cheap I am talking! I have been wanting to build up my stash of vintage Talon zippers too and this is where I got the first few from, so it’s just one more reason to go.  I haven’t been there in a couple of years, since before we moved to Chicago, and now it is a 3-hour trip each way. Maybe sometime in February. Any Chicago Sewists or quilters up for a day trip with me? Maybe even go to Shipshewana to do some more fabric shopping?

Enjoying:

This past week I have really been enjoying getting caught up on podcasts.  I typically let them build up so I can binge them while sewing or cleaning.  I am all current with most of the regular ones I listen to like Stitcher’s Brew, Love to Sew, and Make & Decorate so I have been binging years worth of others like Modern Sewciety, Dressed, and Clothes Making Mavens. If you have any other good sewing related podcasts let me know. I am always on the hunt for more.

Other than sewing related podcasts I also enjoy business ones. They really are the motivational get-off-my-ass-and-do-something push I need. The best one is Mimi G’s Business SHET. She gives it to you straight with no sugar coating things. Smart Passive Income is also great, while not every episode is relevant to the sewing niche that I want to pursue there are still some great general tips and ideas for me to try to implement. I also subscribe to Being Boss, but I haven’t started it just yet. I gotta get caught up on the others first.

Then, of course, there is Serial. If you don’t know about Serial by now, I am not sure what to tell you. I am addicted to this one. Season 3 was great and really just pissed me off all at the same time. Sarah and her team illustrated how unjust the justice system in Cleveland is. It is infuriating to listen to these stories of people trying to do the right thing and making up for the wrongs they have committed but being systemically held back. I listened to this right around midterm elections last year and while I cannot directly affect change in Cleveland, it did make me pay more attention to the judicial candidates on my ballot.  I did a bit of research on their careers and cases to make my informed decision.

Experimenting:

Pattern Review announced the 2019 Sewing Bee contest this past week and the first round started on Friday (1/11).  Each week there will be a different challenge for sewists to interpret and then the panel of judges will determine who moves on to the next weeks round. There are four rounds in total. There are some great prizes, including $100 Fabric Mart gift certificate. Yes, please! I have not previously participated in this challenge but I am going to give it a shot this year.

The first theme is to make a knit cardigan inspired by the 2019 Pantone Color of the Year, Living Coral. I have a few pieces of coral knit in my stash. I pulled them and a few cardigan patterns out to experiment with different combinations. I have until Saturday (1/19) to make, photograph, and upload my review. I will, of course, share it here too. Stay tuned near the end of the week for that.

Check out the FB Blogger Tribe group for a list of future Sunday Lately topics. I hope you will join us! What are you embarking, enjoying, and experimenting with this week?

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Sunday Lately: Obsessing, Perusing, Praising

Welcome to the first Sunday Lately of 2019! If you are new to Sunday Lately, it is a weekly series featuring three prompts to get us writing and sharing. Each blogger can interpret these topics however they choose in their post. Then we all link back to Katy to share with each other.

Obsessing:

Today, I start a new and exciting adventure.  I am volunteering at a local history museum about 18th-century French fur trade in Illinois. Originally, I thought I was just going to be helping by doing mundane office tasks like making copies and answering phones. Turns out it is so much more than that.  I will be there one day a week giving tours to field trip students and talking about history. What’s even better, and totally didn’t realize when I signed up, is that I also get to dress in period costume one Sunday every month for their monthly Living History demo! This is where the Brigade of volunteers dress up and spend the day reenacting life. Guests come to watch and learn about frontier life. There are even special events that our brigade can attend to meet with other reenactor groups.  I know I know, I am a giant nerd, but I don’t care because I get to make and wear a fun costume.

Now, I have quite the closet of Tudor and Elizabethan garments and accessories, but I do not have anything 18th century. I have done a lot of research on 17th century England but not much on 18th-century French fur trade. This past week I have been obsessively scouring the interwebs searching for resources. I have been pinning like mad.  I even have a couple of books that came in yesterday from Amazon to help me understand life in the frontier.  As far as costuming goes, I have also been lusting over some patterns from J.P. Ryan and shoes from American Duchess. I tend to go towards the more high-class nobility garments, which I know are not going to work for this, so I have not bought any pieces yet. After today I will have a better idea of what kind of garments to make and what accessories I need to find.

Perusing:

I was a terrible blogger and blog reader in 2018. I miss blogging and I miss reading about what everyone is making. I have been primarily on Instagram for 2018 and while it is more instant, you do not get the depth of postings as you do with blogs. This weekend I am getting back into blog reading and chatting with you all. I am really enjoying reading about everyone’s 2019 goals and Make Nine plans.

I just jumped on the Make Nine challenge for 2019 too.  I sew way more than nine garments a year but we will see if I can commit to making these specific ones before I get bored or distracted by something else.

Praising:

Speaking of getting caught up on blogs, I need to give praise where praise is due. Here are a few of the standouts from what I have read so far.

Manju from Sewmanju always kills it with her style and her 2018 wrap up post is full of gorgeous pieces I wish I had in my wardrobe.

Sara wrote a beautiful, what I am going to call, love letter about how sewing helped her find herself again in 2018.

Girls in the Garden’s, Lori, made this absolutely fabulous floral rayon blouse. Sadly, the fabric is sold out, but I can dream.

Jenny has written a great inspirational piece about sewing for the body you have now. This is a must read!

 

Check out the FB Blogger Tribe group for a list of future Sunday Lately topics. I hope you will join us! What are you obsessing, perusing, and praising this week?

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Let’s Do This, 2019!

Well, here we are at the end of another year that I feel like has barely even begun. Confession time, I coasted through 2018 like a bad case of senioritis. It wasn’t a bad year for me per say, I just didn’t really achieve much sewing wise/financially/personally/professionally. I just let the year happen. I rolled with what came at me instead of planning and goal setting. In truth, it feels like I wasted a lot of time and resources that could have gone to bigger dreams. Well, I don’t really want to do that again in 2019, so I am getting organized.  I have been thinking about this upcoming year for the last couple of months and what I want to accomplish. I have some financial and personal goals that I will be working on, but that is not why you are here.  You are here because you and I both have a love of sewing. So let’s chat a bit about what I accomplished in 2018 and my sewing goals for 2019.

I did sew up 46 projects totaling 121.5 yards of fabric this year, which does seam like a lot even though I said I didn’t accomplish much. Maybe I accomplished more than I thought. It just feels like I didn’t do much because I didn’t photograph or blog about most of those projects. There were a lot of pattern tests and muslins in that bunch. One of my stand out projects was the Cascade duffle coat that I last blogged about. Another surprise to me was just how many pieces I made using indie patterns this year. Nineteen garments came from Big 4 patterns, five came from self drafted patterns, and an astounding 20 came from Indie designers. This past year really was the year I embraced the PDF pattern. Look at me, all branching out and growing in my sewing.

After making my 4th of July quilt I also donated the leftover fabric, 23.75 yards, to a local chapter of Quilts of Valor. I knew that fabric would just sit in my stash for years if I didn’t do something.  Someone on Facebook introduced me to Quilts of Valor and what they do. They make quilts for Veterans as a way to say ‘Thank you for your service’. As soon as I checked out their page I knew I had to donate my fabrics. I got in contact with my local chapter and donated my fabrics. Maybe once I become a more proficient quilter I can actually make a quilt for them. For the time being I encourage you all to check out what they do, find a local chapter, and help out in anyway you can.

Now the not so hot. I did purchase 102.5 yards of fabric and 64 patterns this year. Of that 121.5 yards I sewed, 42 yards was newly purchased fabrics. While more yardage went out of my stash I am still disappointed that I still managed to purchase so much. This was the year I discovered the whole wide world of custom print knit fabrics. Technically, I found them in 2017, but it was only one group.  In 2018 though, I joined several FB groups and purchased from a few different companies to satisfy all my geek fabric desires. For real, 32 yards came from custom knit groups, 32!! I now have Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, nerdy science prints, Doctor Who, Deadpool, and all the Star Wars under the sun! Bring on the geeky clothing for 2019!

Goals

Getting Organized: I am traditionally a paper and pen kind of planner. To help me get and stay organized this year, I knew I needed a different type planner than what I have used in the past. I considered a bullet journal because I loved the idea of customizing layouts to work for me. I also love the creativity that goes into making it so personal. Practically thinking though, I know I won’t keep this up. I do not need another creative outlet to find time for. What I found is a hybrid of sorts from Write It Down Books, on Etsy. It has all the monthly and weekly spreads pre-done, but it also features a monthly page for goals, to-do, and some reflections. These are things I was searching for! I have already started filling it with goals for the year. My 2018 planner is just bill due dates, alterations appointments, grocery lists, and a list of meals to make. Boring! For 2019, I also want to try and do a bit of daily journaling with it. Just a sentence or two a day about what I did.

Top Nine: I already posted on IG about my top nine plans for 2019, but I thought I would share a bit on here too. I couldn’t settle on just nine projects for the year. Considering I made 46 things this year, I see why that was hard. Instead I broke it down into three catagories; garments for me, garments for Eric, and non-garment projects. The garments for me is a lot of finishing the Smells Like Fall Spirit collection I started this year. A whole lot of indie patterns are going to happen again this year. I have most everything in my stash to complete these projects. The only things I need are will be fabric for my holiday dress and the quilts along with a few patterns. I would like to keep my new fabric purchasing limited to the things on this list though. The only other new fabrics I know I will get will be for Cali blog posts and strike off sewing, which won’t be too bad either.

Blogging: I have barely blogged in 2018 and I miss it!  So do a lot of other people too. The Blogger Tribe group I am a part of is reviving itself and bringing back the Sunday Lately series. Basically, there are three general prompts that we all blog about every Sunday and every week those three prompts change to keep us going. I hope this will be a way to get me back into blogging regularly. I also want to change up my garment posting style a bit. I want to focus more on writing pattern reviews on the PR site and use my blog to post more how-to’s. I am still working out the details, but I have started a topic list.

Mae Scott Designs: So here it is, that is the name of my pattern company. This has been on my dream list for far too long. I have talked about it before, but really have not done anything to make it happen other than draft a few patterns for myself. I am setting some hard deadline goals this year in my new planner. They are inked in, so I have to do something now. No more thinking about it. It is time to actually write it out and break it down into actionable steps this year. I am going to serve the plus size niche because that is what I know and sew but also because it is under served. Anyone have a PDF pattern maker and illustrator they can introduce me too? I can draft all day, but I do not have Adobe Illustrator skills to convert those patterns to PDF’s.

Let’s chat, how did your 2018 go? What are you goals for 2019?

 

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My Cascade Duffle Coat

Hey, Sewists! I am back to share my newest coat make and review. The pattern I used is the Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat in the longer view B. This coat has been a long time coming and is a part of my Smells Like Fall Spirit collection. I have been sharing bits on Instagram for the last few months and I can finally share the finished project! I bought pattern years ago and originally had intended to use a different wool for it. Then I picked up three yards of this red/black and cream/tan herringbone wool blend from Fabric Mart and knew that it was meant for this pattern. I had to let it sit in the stash for a couple of years though before I could muster the desire to cut into it.

One of the most fun parts of this coat is the surprise print lining. This leopard poly charmeuse was originally intended for this coat only it was going to be with the olive green Melton wool I first bought. I decided that I really liked the crazy loud combination of the leopard and herringbone. The contrast of the two is so fun and definitely unique.

I only made a few alterations to the pattern pieces after making the first muslin way back in January. First, I added an inch to each side seam and the underarm piece for a bit more ease. Second, I shortened the length by 3″ to make it hit me just above mid-thigh. I did also make a few additions that the pattern doesn’t call for. As is my standard, I did underline all my shell pieces with cotton flannel for added structure and warmth. I also added 1/2″ shoulder pads for more definition. Without them, the shoulders were just a bit too droopy. Lastly, I tacked the shell to the facings at several different spots in the sleeves, hood, and hem to prevent the lining from pulling away.

My favorite part of the coat is the olive green and gold vintage Talon zipper I used.  It is a few inches shorter than the length called for, but I could not find a modern coat zipper with as much awesome vintage appeal as the Talon zip. Most modern zips that I found were plastic too. That just didn’t seem like it would hold up well in the long run and I didn’t want to have to replace it down the line. Plus, using the vintage zip was a little more sustainable than using a new zip I would have to go out and buy.

I took my time with the other details on this coat too. The instructions called for topstitching on one side of the seam only. I opted to press my seams open and topstitch 1/4″ on each side of the seam. I did this for all the front and back panels as well as the shoulder seams. I think that topstitching both sides added a more professional look to the finished coat.

The toggles I picked up were brand new and came with pre-punched holes. The pattern only called for three, but I added a fourth. Each toggle was also handstitched down to ensure they were attached consistently. That is the one thing from when I made Eric’s coat that bothers me.  Even though his were store bought, I machine stitched them down and you can tell. It is hard to machine stitch those perfectly.  The pre-punched ones were a lifesaver and look so much better! I plan on stashing several more sets of these for future projects.

In the end, I am so in love with this coat! I don’t know why I put off making it for so long. It was easy.  Yes, there are a lot of steps because it is a much more involved project, but there is nothing super challenging.  I fully recommend this pattern to any level of sewist who is wanting to make outerwear.

I did blog a bit about it over on the Sewcialists with a few starter sustainability tips for sewing.  Go check it out!

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